Do you love to travel? Have you ever heard of dog passports? Maybe you have social media rife with places you want to visit or Pinterest Boards with gorgeous vistas for your future vacations? Loving to travel and loving our pets can often leave us with a difficult choice: can we leave our beloved pups behind to travel the world? Some have found an answer by bringing their canine companions along on their adventures. You may need a dog passport for your furry friend, depending on where you go. Read on to determine if you need a passport for your pooch, and how to get one before you book your next trip.

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What Are Dog Passports?

Traveling with dogs requires extra planning and consideration, but it isn’t impossible. If you plan to travel internationally, you will need a passport for your dog, just like you do for yourself. A dog passport is a compilation of identifying documents for your dog. Dog passports can sometimes allow your pup to bypass lengthy quarantines otherwise required in some countries. In essence, dog passports demonstrate that your pet is fit and healthy to travel and up-to-date on required vaccinations.

When Do You Need Dog Passports?

In the United States, you don’t need dog passports to travel from state to state, but you do need one to enter other countries and reenter the U.S. Every country is different, so the first step to any trip, including your canine companion, needs to research your destination to see what specific documents they require.

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How To Get Dog Passports

As previously stated, the first step to getting dog passports is to research your destination. Every country has its own rules and regulations regarding what your dog needs to enter their borders. In addition, you need to research your method of travel; your plane, train, or automobile might require different documentation than your destination country.

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Research Your Trip

You can research your destination country’s regulations by visiting the USDA website. To verify what you read online, check with the country’s consulate in Washington D.C. Note that if you don’t reside in the United States, there could be different rules based on your country of origin.

Call Your Veterinarian

Once you have finished researching your destination and found out what documents you need to travel, it’s time to call and make an appointment with your veterinarian. Depending on where you’re going and how you’re traveling, you’ll need a good bill of health from a licensed vet. Depending on the country, you may need to use a federally-accredited vet. Some things your vet might recommend to get your pup ready for travel are:

  • Microchipping or tattooing for identification purposes.
  • Rabies and other essential vaccines and enough time for them to take effect and blood tests to show they are active.
  • Flea and tick prevention, as well as fecal checks for parasites.
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Receive a Health Certificate

Once your vet has deemed your pup fit to travel, they will issue you a health certificate. For some countries, however, this isn’t enough to travel with. In the United States, the USDA will endorse a health certificate, which you have to send in by mail, so plan time before your travel plans accordingly. 

If your pup has health issues, don’t hesitate to consult your vet about whether or not they should be taking long trips. As much as we want our dogs with us, sometimes leaving them at home to rest is best for them. If your dog still loves adventuring despite their health issues, you can always plan outings for them closer to home.

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Plan Your Return

During the research phase of your trip, don’t forget to figure out what your country of origin requires for dogs to enter or, in this case, re-enter the country. Even though your destination country may not have strict rules for dogs to cross the border, your origin country may make bringing your pup back home difficult. 

How Much Does a Dog Passport Cost?

Dog passports costs vary greatly depending on where you live and what your destination country requires. Your passport could cost as little as $40 or over $1000. Here are a few of the costs associated with obtaining dog passports:

  • One-year rabies vaccinations cost between $15 and $20, and a 3-year vaccination costs $35 to $50. The rabies titer test costs $80 to $150.
  • The health certificate from your vet costs between $25 and $150.
  • Microchipping costs between $25 and $60 usually.
  • If your dog requires a tapeworm treatment, that will cost no more than around $18.
  • The USDA endorsement fee is $38. 
  • The highest variation cost is the import permit, depending on your destination country.
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Plan, Prepare, and Enjoy!

Dog passports can take a few weeks to a few months to acquire, so plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to get all the documents you need. Research is by far the longest step, as you will want to thoroughly understand what you need to take your dog on a trip, and then you will want to double-check that information with the appropriate avenues. After research, some of the most extended waiting times allow your dog’s vaccinations to take effect. Let your vet know about your trip as soon as possible, and they can likely help walk you through all the necessary steps to get your dog’s passport.

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